What matters? Your opinion Academics Behavior Leadership Skills Exposure Opportunity Recruiting Rules Timing Logistics
The player’s opinion matters Do you want to go to college? What degree do you want to obtain? Does international study or internship experience matter to you? They’re typically not available to college athletes. Do you want to play softball while you’re in school? What locale is right for you? What size school is right for you? What level of play (Div I, II, III, NAIA, NJCA) is right for you? Are you willing to commit the time it takes to develop into a college-level player? BE OPEN & HONEST IN CONVERSATIONS WITHIN THE FAMILY!
Academics You have to be academically qualified to be admitted to the school! – GPA (may be no lower than 2.0 for NCAA with stipulations 7 ) – ACT or SAT test scores (860 SAT or 18 ACT minimum) – Ranking in high school class – Can you write an essay? You have to be comfortable that you can balance college academics and athletics You need to make sure that the school offers the degrees and programs that will allow you to get where you want AFTER college
Behavior College recruiters watch EVERYTHING! 1 – What do you do with your downtime between games? – How do you treat warm-ups? – How do you behave in the on deck circle? – What’s your attitude like after a big play? (good or bad) – Do you help the coach with equipment? – Do you clean the dugout? – Do you get along with the other players? – Do you introduce yourself to the college coach? – Can you look the coach in the eye and shake their hand firmly? – How are the player’s parents behaving? Important attributes – Athleticism, talent – Attitude to coaches and officials on and off the field – Composure / Bounce back ability – Communication with teammates – Work ethic – Hustle
Leadership Are you a team leader? Do you encourage others? Do you cheer others on? Are you a field communicator? Do you make sure other players are aware of the game situation? Do you step up to reinforce good behaviors from others? Are you involved with volunteer or community activities?
Skills “I’d rather recruit an athlete that can play softball than a softball player” former Div I asst coach and current JuCo coach Carie Dever Boaz 1 Is the player flexible (able to play more than one position)? How well do you understand the game? How well do you REALLY understand the skills required for your top 3 playing positions? How often do you practice/drill to sharpen your abilities regarding those skills? How well have you mastered hitting, bunting, slapping? Be honest in your assessment of your playing level. A 3 rd party assessment may be worthwhile as well. Heart can carry you farther than your level would otherwise allow! 85% of winning college coaches surveyed say they look to recruit multi-position athletes, excluding pitchers & catchers. 2
Research on Keys to Success Attributes that college coaches say are the keys to success for college athletes 3 Positive attitude Motivation Competitiveness Coachability Willingness to improve athletic skills 74% of winning college coaches surveyed say they actively recruit multi-sport athletes. 2
Skills – Statistics 4 NCAA D1 NCAA D2NCAA D3/ NAIA NJCAA Pitchers Height5’9″5’7″5’6″5’5″ Velocity60+58+55+54+ Middle Infielders Height5’8″5’4″ 5’3″ Weight160 lb.150 lb.140 lb.135 lb. Pop Time<1.8<1.9<2.0<2.2 Home to 1B<3.0<3.1<3.2<3.4 Corner Infielders Height5’7″5’6″5’5″5’4″ Weight145 lb.140 lb.135 lb.130 lb. Home to 1B<2.9<3.0<3.1<3.3 Outfielders Height5’7″5’5″5’4″5’3″ Weight135 lb.130 lb. 125 lb. Home to 1B<2.8<2.9<3.1<3.3
Exposure NCAA coaches are limited to 50 hours of recruiting evaluations per year Div I coaches TYPICALLY go to only travel ball exposure or showcase tournaments (more talent in least amount of evaluation hours) JuCo, NAIA will attend more high school / local events Div I, II and III coaches can attend high school events in there local area without it counting against their 50 hour limit (think ETSU, King University, etc.) If you want to play for a local school, let them know and invite them to your high school or travel ball games Be aware: High school schedules conflict with college seasons If you want to play Div I, find where your school of interest is going for showcase tournaments… and make sure they know that you’re playing there!
Opportunity 5 Maximum number of college athletic scholarships available for college softball: Division Number of teams Athletic Scholarships limit per school Maximum Available Scholarships NCAA I288123,456 NCAA II2737.21,966 NCAA III390--0- NAIA198101,980 NJCAA I & II292247,008 NJCAA III66--0- Other Divisions129n/a Totals1,636 14,410 NOTE: “Scholarships” are defined on an equivalent basis. That is one “scholarship” could be used to give 2 players 50% scholarships
Opportunity – The Facts Only 7.8% of high school players end up playing at the collegiate level. 5 Very few scholarship opportunities are full ride athletic scholarships. NONE in softball are guaranteed 4-year full ride scholarships. Athletic scholarships typically only cover ~25% of tuition & fees. Average college in-state tuition & fees for public institutions is $10,000; private tuition is $30,000. Most schools look at need-based and merit-based scholarships first, then use athletic scholarships to fill in the gaps They do this because of the Equivalency Rule that allows one defined scholarship to be split between multiple players. 7 Div III has no athletic scholarships, but they do have need-based and merit-based opportunities You may not be recruited to play your position of choice. Be flexible!
Recruiting Rules Don’t give up if a coach/school doesn’t respond to your e-mail or letters You can keep them abreast of where you will be playing even if they can’t respond You can send YouTube links for skills videos or game footage Even if you don’t hear back from them, they will usually keep a file on your player to track their progress through high school
NCAA Div I Rules 7 – Freshman/Sophomore As a Freshman/Sophomore in high school: Recruiting Material – You may receive brochures for camps and questionnaires. Telephone Calls – You can call the coach at your own expense. – Coach cannot call you. Off-Campus Contact – Not Permitted Official Visits – Not Permitted Unofficial Visits – Unlimited
NCAA Div I Rules – Junior Year As a Junior in High School: Recruiting Material – You can begin to receive recruiting material and information from the coach on September 1st. Telephone Calls – You can call the coach at your own expense. – You can receive one per week starting July 1st after your Junior year. – Telephone calls are unlimited during contact periods. Off-Campus Contact – Allowed July 1st after your Junior year. Official Visits – Not Permitted Unofficial Visits – Unlimited
NCAA Div I Rules - Senior Year As a Senior in high school: Recruiting Material – You can receive material and information from the coach Telephone Calls – You can call the coach at your own expense. – Coach can call you once per week starting July 1st. – Telephone calls are unlimited during contact periods. Off-Campus Contact – Allowed but no more than 3 times. Official Visits – You can start official visits on the opening day of your classes. – You get one per college and a maximum of 5 visits to D1, and unlimited visits to D2, D3 and NAIA schools. Unofficial visits – Unlimited
NCAA Rules - General College coaches have 50 days in which to evaluate you. They cannot exceed that number. College coaches can evaluate and/or contact you no more than 7 times during your senior year. During your senior year a college coach cannot contact you more than 3 times. You have to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center prior to official visits with the school
NCAA Div II & III Rule Summary 7 DIVISION IIDIVISION III Recruiting materials A coach may begin sending you printed recruiting materials September 1 of your junior year in high school.You may receive printed materials any time. Telephone calls A college coach may call you once per week beginning June 15 between your junior and senior year. No limit on number of calls or when they can be made by the college coach. You may make calls to the coach at your expense. Off-campus contact A college coach can have contact with you or your parents/legal guardians off the college’s campus beginning June 15 after your junior year. A college coach may begin to have contact with you and your parents/legal guardians off the college’s campus after your junior year. A college coach is limited to three in-person contacts off campus. Unofficial visits You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits any time. Official visits You may make official visits starting the opening day of classes your senior year. You may make only one official visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Divisions I and II colleges. You may make only one official visit per college.
NAIA Rules 8 Like Division III, most programs have small recruiting budgets. Unlike Division III, NAIA schools can offer athletic scholarships. This means that, despite their small size, NAIA schools have very competitive sports – about on the level of NCAA Division II. There are no restrictions at all on coach communications. Coaches can call, email, or text potential recruits. They can write on their Facebook walls or tweet at them. They can visit their houses or go to their games. There are no time or age restrictions.
Timing 1 The time to start your college recruiting activities is NOW (8 th grade to 9 th grade) Each team is only looking for so many spots each year – you want your name in the pot early as they try to decide who to select for their limited spots Be persistent in communications – they need to know you’re serious. And yes, the squeaky wheel gets the attention in this case. By the Junior year in High School, the PLAYER should be doing most of the communicating with the coaches – coaches are leery of helicopter parents.
Logistics NCAA Eligibility Center – all prospective students with interest in NCAA play must register and be cleared. Sign up at the beginning of your sophomore year. 7 NAIA Eligibility Center- all prospective students with interest in NAIA play must register and be cleared 8 Verbal Commitments – non-binding on either side National Letters of Intent – binding once the financial aid package is signed Juniors, register to take the ACT, SAT or both and use the NCAA Eligibility Center code “9999” as a score recipient. Doing this sends your official score directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center. 7 Know the rules and processes that your schools of interest must follow, and follow those rules yourself. Parents & athletes are also responsible for knowing the rules and following them.
FAQs Do I need a skills video? A skills video is the easiest way to get a college coach’s eyes on your player. BUT it is a two-edged sword: it can be used to spark interest or eliminate further review. Put your video on YouTube – and e- mail a link to the coach. Don’t bother making and mailing DVD’s. Should I play High School & Travel Ball? 1 Travel ball showcase tournaments are most important for Div I exposure. High school is fine for local Div I-III and NAIA. Don’t shy away from multi-sport involvement. Do I need to hire a national recruiting company? 2 NO. College coaches often view them as interference. 85% of surveyed coaches recommend against using them 1. When should I start? NOW. How many schools should I contact? 6 A LOT. The more coaches that are aware of your player, the more chances you have of finding the right match.
References 1.Q&A at National Softball Clinic, Charlotte, NC January 24, 2014 (Marge Wright, John Tschida, Carie Dever-Boaz) 2.Paper, “Recruiting in Division I Softball” Amber Kavehkar 3.Research by Giacobbi, Roper, Whitney, Butryn, 2002 4.http://www.athleticscholarships.net/softballscholarships.htmhttp://www.athleticscholarships.net/softballscholarships.htm 5.http://www.scholarshipstats.com/softball.htmhttp://www.scholarshipstats.com/softball.htm 6.My Softball Scholarship, Jeff & Emily Poulton 7.http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/CBSA.pdf See NCAA.org for complete NCAA eligibility and recruiting rules 8.See NAIA.org for complete NCAA eligibility and recruiting rules